Dream Big & Buy The Shoes

November 20, 2017

Granola Yogurt Bites

I've been on a mission to try and prep some meals...notice I said some, Rome wasn't built in a day people.
It's funny because I used to laugh when people said they forgot to eat when they had children or had a really busy work day. I get it now, I literally forget to eat sometimes between feeding Bella, getting laundry done while she naps and running errands when I can. Cherry Coke's and Starbucks fuel my day and I shouldn't be proud of that...so here's my latest attempt at some breakfast and snack options.

I found these on Pinterest and am happy to report that it's another easy recipe. These went from my counter to the freezer in less than 10 minutes and the ingredients are so easy to pick up, some you may already have in your kitchen.

Recipe from One Little Project

You need:
1 container of blueberry greek yogurt
bag of granola
blueberries and raspberries
mini cupcake liners
mini muffin pan

To make:
line your pan with cupcake liners
layer bottom half of liner with granola (about 1-2 teaspoons)
scoop yogurt on top and cover to the top of the pan (about 1.5 tablespoons)
top with berries
freeze for 1-3 hours...I found out 3 was best and would recommend that

After 3 hours, pop out and enjoy.
I ate a few then put the rest in a freezer bag and stored in my freezer. You can take a few out at a time to defrost and enjoy individually or microwave for a few seconds before eating.



They couldn't be easier or more delicious. I'm so happy I tried another recipe on Pinterest instead of letting it sit on my board for 2 years ;)
Happy Snacking...Enjoy!

November 17, 2017

Personalized Gift Ideas

With Christmas coming, it always gets me thinking of gift ideas...usually not this late, but hey- we all have to start somewhere right?!
My favorite gifts are the personalized ones...whether it's a monogram addition, a custom iPhone case, or adding photos of the ones you love to the present. *this post contains affiliate links*

CaseApp is by far the easiest site I've used to create custom iPhone cases and laptop skins and I was so excited to put baby girl's face on some things it's been time to update. I didn't have a case for my iPad so I decided to make a skin and CaseApp had it done within just a few minutes. They have pre-made skins in marble, flowers, abstract designs and so much more if you don't want to use a photo but you could add a name or initials for a personalized effect.
CaseApp offers cases and skins from everything for iPhone's to Samsung devices and iPod's...making gifts fun for everyone from your kids and niece or nephew to Mom and Dad.
For my phone I opted for a case, and I know from previous experience that they are not too thick, but durable enough to hold up when you drop it daily, like me ;) I love black and white pictures and think they bring a timeless look to any photograph and put Bella on that too. Sorry not sorry!

Pairing gifts to make a theme is always fun for me and my loved ones seem to enjoy it too. I rounded up a few ideas you can pair with a phone case or laptop skin to make a cute little theme.

I love Sugar Paper planners- these are beautiful for 2018.
These inspirational pencils are a great addition for someone's desk.
Pom keychains are so cute, these alphabet ones are the best!
You can find portable chargers all over my bags, they are so handy-this pig one is beyond adorable.
A travel clutch is always a necessity-this Bonjour beauty is great.
All things Kate Spade always- this poppy laptop case is on sale, functional and lovely.

In the spirit of giving this season, CaseApp is generously giving one Dream Big and Buy the Shoes reader ANY product of their choice! You can enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will end Wednesday November 22nd.


a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Do you buy personalized gifts for your family and friends? Is your holiday shopping done?

November 15, 2017

What's New In My Makeup Bag

I love reading what people have in their bags...whether it's your handbag, beauty bag or gym bag. I guess I'm nosey, but it's fun.
Today I wanted to share what's new in my makeup bag since I've been loving pretty much everything I have purchased the past few months. And when we find something good we have to tell everyone about it, right?! *this post contains affiliate links*

Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara- to be honest, I was let down by this mascara. I know everyone has their preference but the only L'oreal one I really love is the primer. The Essence mascara is still my number one when it comes to budget friendly buys.

MAC Russian Red Lipstick- everyone has raved about this, so I scooped it up during the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale and obviously it did not disappoint. It's such a great red for this time of the year.

Pressed Banana Powder - I came across this while browsing the Ulta sale and thought I would try it for all the upcoming sleepless nights I may have with a new babe. So far, I am really enjoying it and think it does a great job setting concealer and helping brighten your under-eye area. I've seen other products of this type with a much heftier price-tag, so this is a winner!
best budget mascara
Real Techniques Setting Brush- this was a BOGO deal at Ulta so I thought I would try out some of the Real Technique brushes since I love their sponges. Verdict is in- I love their brushes too.

Real Techniques Powder Brush- I've been using this for my setting powder and love the way it applies. This is a nice big brush that gets the job done easily!

Miracle Complexion Sponge + Travel Case- truth be told I haven't used the case yet, but this is the sponge I use for my foundation and swear by it...so I thought a new one with a travel case would be perfect for any trips.

Big Tease Plumping Mascara- Kathleen from Carrie Bradshaw Lied recommended this one day on her Instagram story and her lashes looked amaaazing, but it honestly didn't wow me. I'm pretty bummed and am now on the hunt for a new higher end mascara. Anyone ever try the YSL babydoll mascara? I may try that next!
best ulta buys
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye- holy amazing. This is the first Kiehl's product I've used and I am sold. I saw such a difference after using it just a few days. Usually I'm so bad about night time regimens and eye creams, but I've only forgot to apply this one night so far since having it. I absolutely love it and what a great job it's doing to help my fine lines and rough morning eyes.

BECCA Under Eye Brightening Corrector- I talked about this last week but it has been absolutely amazing for my dark circles. I really love how much better it makes my under eye area look and don't so much hate how they look in pictures now. I think this is going to become a holy grail product for me- MUST HAVE!

Sephora Collection Almond Lip Balm- love love love, not sure why I haven't scooped up one of these sooner. I adore everything almond, so this is a no brainer and it's ideal for this time of year because it's extra moisturizing.  I also got the Honey one for exfoliating, but haven't used it yet...so I'll report back about that.
sephora lip balm
Tarteist Pro To Go Amazonian Clay Palette- one of my favorite bloggers who shares all kinds of great beauty items, Katey McFarlan talked about this and I loved the colors and size of it. I tend to overpack when I travel...tell me you don't, I don't believe you ;) and I thought it would be best for when we go on trips. It's a nice compact size for a palette and the shadows are really beautiful. It applies nice, but is a tad messier than other shadows I typically use. I really do like the palette overall.
Urban Decay Hydracharged Priming Spray- in one of my Sephora orders over the Summer I used some of my beauty insider points for an Urban Decay All Day All Night Set of sprays to try out. I don't love the smell of the All Nighter...not so pleasant, and it's a good setting spray- not much different than the others from their line. The Quick Fix Priming Spray is soooo good and the smell takes you right to the ocean. It has a light coconut and beachy fragrance and helps smooth my skin quickly instead of applying other primers. I love it when I'm doing a quick application and those easy days when you don't need much. I purchased the full size after testing the travel size for about a week, that's how much I loved it and knew I needed more.

Okay, after reading that maybe I should go on a spending freeze ;) but I love playing with beauty products and finding what works best for me. I could spend hours reading reviews online and watching You-Tube videos of beauty gurus...it's like another hobby. 

Have you used any of these products? What great beauty items have you bought lately?

November 13, 2017

Bella's Birth Story

As of today, (technically a little later tonight) our little Bella is 4 weeks old! I want to share her birth story so that it's something I have saved to read for years to come and since all of you have been such a big part of our journey.

Some people may think it's crazy that people you've never met in person can be such a huge part of your life, but if you're a blogger...you get it. I've been so lucky to have so many of you saying prayers for us, thinking of us and beyond that showering us with love and gifts for our sweet babe. I can't say THANK YOU enough, and our entire family is so blessed by you.

A lot of you know the backstory, but to catch you up- I was put on bed rest at 26 weeks in to our pregnancy after discovering my water had broke. The hospital was not a fun place to be, but it was safest for both me and our baby girl. For all the patient nurses and knowledgeable doctors, I am so thankful both of us are healthy here today. The plan had been to induce labor at 34 weeks, because due to my water breaking early, the longer she was in there past 34 weeks the higher risk for infection and it was safe for her to come then based on lots of research that has shown the difference between 34 and 37 weeks in development is not as far off as you would think in terms of development.

So, October 16 was on our countdown calendar. I thought for sure she would come on October 15th for a few reasons. Chuck's birthday is October 14th and I swore she would want to be just one day closer to Daddy's and nothing in this pregnancy went to plan, so why should her grand entrance?!
Little Miss proved me wrong and came as scheduled, so late on October 15th the doctor checked my cervix and determined as expected I would need some medicine to move things along.

Although my water had broke, my body wouldn't be ready for delivery so they would have to induce labor and get things started with medicine. Chuck, Ethan and I hung out for a while and enjoyed a meal together before my Mother-In-Law came by the hospital to pick Ethan up and spend the night with him. Chuck and I took it easy and tried to get to bed early in the hospital because we knew it would be a long night.
Due to the cervix medication, I would have to get my blood pressure checked every hour and have my cervix checked every three, so there wasn't a lot of time for sleep. Overnight, our nurses changed and from about 3 am on, we didn't sleep at all. The nurse made us kind of anxious with all her moving around and coming in and out of the room next door, where the baby goes after delivery. I heard her moving things, banging things...it was kind of crazy and I hadn't been nervous until this point. At 7 am the nurses change shifts, and our nurse who would be with us all day came in and they started Pitocin, a medicine which induces labor around 8 am after all the information was passed along from the night shift.

Ethan and my MIL arrived and were going to be there for the day, so we hung out in the room. After a bit, Ethan went to the waiting room and sat with one of our best friends who had made the trip to hang out.
Pretty soon on, around 10 am I started to feel contractions pretty bad and felt like a wimp, but I asked for that epidural ASAP, because I was scared I would miss a window and next thing you knew she would be here. HA! You'll see...
The epidural was the most amazing thing in the world and I could squeeze that anesthesiologist so tight. It was a little nerve wracking getting a huge needle inserted in my back, but I would take anything to not feel those contractions. The best way to describe what I felt after it, was that my leg felt like tree trunks. Just heavy and lifeless, so as those contractions came, I felt nothing at all down there. After I got the epidural my blood pressure dropped, and  then baby's heart rate did so they had to stop the Pitocin and get things regulated.
 I thought this would be a quick process, but boy was I wrong. I was only dilated 2-3 centimeters by noon and I thought by this point, since I hadn't ate in 12 hours I would be hangry...but all I felt was those tree trunk legs.
A few hours passed and I wasn't dilated much more and I began to think that we may not have a baby that day. I was frustrated and started to get nervous for some reason so I tried to nap. Her heart rate was pretty inconsistent so then they had me in all sorts of positions. I laid on my side with one leg up, and then about 45 minutes to an hour later they would have me switch to the other side. At one point the bed was raised super high up and I had to sit with my legs open in the "Queen's position". I joked that I didn't feel like a Queen, much like a lady with my legs open like that...but they said it could help get baby girl moved on down.
By 3 pm I was finally around 4-5 cm dilated and started feeling those contractions again, so they were able to give me another boost of the epidural. I wanted baby girl out by 5 pm, because the doctors on duty were switching and I had heard that the one coming on later pushed for c-sections the minute things didn't go as planned and I was not up for that. It's not very reassuring to hear as a pregnant woman, let alone one who's been on bedrest for 2 months just wanting the safest delivery possible.
Shortly after 5 pm, the feared doctor came to check things and I was still around 5-6 cm dilated but,  I was pretty excited.  I swear I felt her pop something inside of me, sounds weird...but it's exactly what it felt like. I was told usually 7 is when that baby comes. This was such a long process and my legs felt heavier than ever and I was starting to get a headache.
Chucks' Dad arrived from North Carolina and came in the room to visit and my other Father In Law had made it in from his work day in Ohio and we all kind of gave baby girl a pep talk and told her she could come now.
Right after everyone but Chuck and my MIL left the room - TMI...but I felt like I had gone to the bathroom in that hospital bed. I felt these three big pushes on my lower stomach and swear I had done some business. I made Chuck look, HA- but thankfully had not.
A little while later the doctor came in and said that she didn't like what she was seeing on the monitor with the heart rate, and they were going to put a more indicative monitor inside of me on the baby's head to get a more accurate reading. She said if things continued as they were we were going to have a c- section and I teared up right away. The doctor started opening the things she was going to use and checked me and replied, "Oh. No. We are not doing that. It's time to have a baby. Her head is right here!" I started crying because I couldn't feel anything...so how was I going to push?! I couldn't believe it was time and kept crying out of fear, excitement and so much more. I was SO thankful that this was working and we hopefully would not need surgery. That push I had felt was baby girl moving on down and ready to come out!
The nurse got on the phone to call NICU, because their nurses come down so they are prepared to take baby in case she needs immediate support. The doctor got everyone ready and got me in position, which Chuck and my MIL holding one of each of my legs. She told me to push when I felt a contraction and I laughed telling her...I couldn't feel a thing and I asked her how I push if I just felt numb? Ha-Ha. She sat there and told me when I was having a contraction and yelled to push. So I pushed until I felt like I couldn't breathe and Chuck told me her head was out. I pushed really hard two more times and our baby girl was here!
I bawled my eyes out as they put her on my chest because I truly didn't think that would happen, but she was doing well enough that they could. I held her for about two minutes while I probably said that whole time "Oh my goodness, this is our baby." I was nervous because she wasn't crying, but they said she was fine and she let out a little one as they took her from me. Chuck cut the cord and they got everything cleaned up so that Ethan could come meet her. I was SO worried and probably asked a hundred times if she was okay while they had her in the side room working on things.
I didn't stop shaking, it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. I honestly could not believe she was finally here. They told us she couldn't come back to our arms, but she was doing very well. They gave her some oxygen support and got her in the NICU incubator and wheeled her past us before they took her to that area of the Labor & Delivery floor.

Bella Charles arrived on Monday October 16, 2017 at 6:44 pm weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces and was 17.7 inches long. When they told us the weight, we couldn't believe it - 412...the day we got engaged, so cool. The NICU nurses took her and we got updates for the next hour that we had to wait until we could see her. We got the rest of my room packed up from the past two months and closed the door on that side of the fifth floor. They play a lullaby when the children are born and it always made my day when I heard it sitting in my hospital room. Turns out, the parents push a button to play the lullaby on your way out of the L&D area when you and the baby are transferred to the recovery area. I have never seen Chuck so happy to press the button and play the lullaby, it was so sweet.

 We got things in my new room quickly and were taken down to NICU as a family of 3 to see our new addition and fourth member. She was doing well and looked so small in that incubator, it was sad to only be able to touch her even though we were prepared for that. I just wanted to sit and hold her all night. Chuck and I took our family back a few people at a time to meet her and after a few hours, it was time for me to get some rest. I didn't think I would be able to sleep that night, but I actually did quite well.
The next morning, Chuck and I went to see her and she was already off oxygen support and we got to hold her. The stories we had read and things we heard told us some parents didn't experience this for weeks, so I was blown away. Bella's NICU nurse was super sweet and let us bond with her for a good hour and it was so special. Holding her outside of a hospital bed and incubator was pretty awesome and felt like a whole new world. I'm a Mom to a sweet little babe, and it's amazing.
I have to thank the doctor that I feared for actually being downright amazing and making this birth seem super easy. Much of this pregnancy was not what I saw being in our plan and isn't a fairytale that you typically read about, but it's our story and at the end of our journey we got beautiful baby Bella.
Congratulations if you made it through this story, considering her actual birth was over and done with before the time you got finished with this post.